The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
signed today a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the
existing close collaboration between the two organizations.
The Memorandum of Understanding establishes a general framework for
cooperation and coordination on international migration issues that
are of growing importance to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Out of an estimated 190 million international migrants
worldwide, Asia-Pacific accounts for one-third or about 58 million
– 53 million in Asia and 5 million in the Pacific.
Cross-border population movement in search of better opportunity or
human security is a long standing characteristic of societies in
Asia and the Pacific.
It is estimated that ESCAP member countries received about US$85
billion in remittances in 2004. Remittances from international
migration have become a structural element of the Asia-Pacific
economy, playing essential roles in sustaining local and national
“Member States of ESCAP increasingly view international
migration as an emerging issue with ramifications on the broader
development agenda,” said Mr. Kim Hak-Su, United Nations
Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, at the
signing ceremony. “The Memorandum of Understanding will
formalize our long-standing collaboration with IOM and harmonize
our respective activities on international migration and
“This agreement will allow us to develop joint initiatives
with ESCAP at a time when international migration is being
recognized as a major contributor to development in the region.
Migration management challenges such as human trafficking remain
and need to be curbed through concerted and coordinated
action,” stated IOM’s Regional Representative for
Southeast Asia, Ms. Irena Vojackova-Sollorano.
Closer cooperation between ESCAP and IOM contributes to more
effective implementation of common socio-economic development
objectives, including improving the livelihoods of migrants and
maximizing the positive contribution of international migration
toward poverty reduction.
ESCAP and IOM are current co-chairs of the Regional Thematic
Working Group on International Migration including Human
Trafficking – a regional coordination mechanism of 16 United
Nations agencies and other relevant international and
intergovernmental organizations working on aspects of international
migration within their respective programme of work. The functions
of the Working Group include information sharing, identification of
priority areas for cooperation and joint programmes, and
dissemination of good practices in migration management.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United
Nations for the Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1947, ESCAP is
now headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand and has 62 member
Governments. ESCAP seeks to overcome some of the region’s
greatest development challenges. Focusing on issues that are most
effectively addressed through regional cooperation, ESCAP carries
out work in three main thematic areas: poverty reduction; managing
globalization; and tackling emerging social issues.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an
intergovernmental organization committed to the principle that
humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.
Established in 1951, IOM has more than 300 field locations and 120
Member States and 89 observer States and global and regional IGOs
and NGOs. IOM assists in meeting the operational challenges of
migration, advances understanding of migration issues and
encourages social and economic development through international